Bayesian merging of multiple climate model forecasts for seasonal hydrological predictions

Lifeng Luo, Eric F. Wood, Ming Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


This study uses a Bayesian approach to merge ensemble seasonal climate forecasts generated by multiple climate models for better probabilistic and deterministic forecasting. Within the Bayesian framework, the climatological distribution of the variable of interest serves as the prior, and the likelihood function is developed with a weighted linear regression between the climate model hindcasts and the corresponding observations. The resulting posterior distribution is the merged forecast, which represents our best estimate of the variable, including its mean and variance, given the current model forecast and knowledge about the model's performance. The handling of multimodel climate forecasts and nonnormal distributed variables, such as precipitation, are two important extensions toward the application of the Bayesian merging approach for seasonal hydrological predictions. Two examples are presented as follows: seasonal forecast of sea surface temperature over equatorial Pacific and precipitation forecast over the Ohio River basin. Cross validation of these forecasts shows smaller root mean square error and smaller ranked probability score for the merged forecast as compared with raw forecasts from climate models and the climatological forecast, indicating an improvement in both deterministic and probabilistic forecast skills. Therefore there is great potential to apply this method to seasonal hydrological forecasting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD10102
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 27 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Bayesian merging of multiple climate model forecasts for seasonal hydrological predictions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this